Shingles or herpes zoster is an infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, and affects nerves and the skin covering them. It can appear anywhere on the body as a painful and blistering rash. It typically affects people between the ages of 50 and 70 and often appears on only one side of the body. Over one third of older individuals who get shingles suffer from persistent pain, but shingles has rarely been linked to any other serious medical condition. There are a number of Chinese remedies used to treat shingles.
Treatment for Shingles
In western medicine there is no known cure for shingles and the only treatment option is one that helps to shorten the length of the disease and keep it from causing any other complication. Hence treatment mostly comprises of antiviral medicines for pain reduction. Topical creams and pain medications are often also prescribed to relieve symptoms of long-term pain. Many patients have to take antidepressants. Given the side effects that may occur with the prolonged use of these medications, it is wise to try other treatment options first. A number of such options are found in the form of Chinese remedies.
Chinese Angelica or Angelica sinensis is also called Dong Quai. The best known use for this herb in Asia is for treating various afflictions associated with the female menstrual cycle. The powerful root is also used as a treatment of shingles. The herb is used in tea or tincture but is to be avoided during pregnancy.
Chinese Prickly Pear
This is also known as Xiang Ren Zhang or Opuntia Dillenii Haw. It is used by applying the mashed inner fleshy part of the cactus pads directly on the lesions for a week. Pain is said to start subsiding in 4 hours and sometimes even disappears in 6 hours. The remedy is to be used for a week and the mash is to be prepared and applied fresh each day.
White Medicine of Yunnan
This is also known as Yunnan Baiyao and though its use is as a topical haemostatic in China, it is also used internally. It is prepared by mixing the powder with white liquor or dry white wine to make a thin paste. This is applied to the lesions three to five times daily, while 300 mg of the powder is taken internally four times daily, according to pharmacognosist Dr. Albert Y. Leung. Healing is said to start in one to three days and complete healing is achieved in three to eight days.
This is also referred to as xiong huang and is mainly comprised of arsenic disulfide. It is highly toxic and is not to be used internally. The powder is mixed with vinegar to make a thin paste which is applied on the lesions. Pain is said to start disappearing from the second day and healing starts after the third day. There are also no scars left after healing.